New Volume Guides the Movement of Research to Practice

Faculty; Public Health; Research

Taxpayers and private funders have invested billions of dollars in health research, but the discoveries that research yields often take years to reach the people they are intended to help, and sometimes never do. Leading scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have been tackling that problem by finding out what works – and what doesn’t – to disseminate and implement research findings: D&I.

Experts in this relatively new field across a broad range of disciplines have now published a second edition of their authoritative volume: Dissemination Implementation and Research in Health (Oxford University Press).

The editors are Ross C. Brownson, Bernard Becker Professor at the Brown School and the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine and Director of the Prevention Research Center; Graham A. Colditz, Deputy Director of the Institute for Public Health, Niess-Gain professor of surgery at the School of Medicine; and Enola K. Proctor, Shanti K. Khinkuka Distinguished Professor at the Brown School.

“Our book documents that in a time of substantial political changes resulting in increasing pressure on scientific and public resources, researchers must continue to meet the implied obligation to the public that the billions of dollars invested in basic science and etiologic research will yield specific and tangible benefits to their health,” the editors write in the book’s preface. “We believe that applying the principles in this volume will help to bridge the chasm between discovery and practice.”

The book contains several new or extensively revised chapters, including those on ethics in D&I research; models and frameworks; systems science methods; implementation strategies; adaptation in D&I science; mixed-methods evaluation; worksite D&I; and working in lower-resource countries. All of the remaining chapters from the first edition have been updated.

The text is intended for a broad audience that includes researchers and practitioners across disciplines such as epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral science, medicine social work, psychology, and anthropology. Practitioners in public health and health services, as well as those in federal, state and local health agencies and organizations should find the book useful in addressing their on-the-ground challenges.

Many of the authors are from Washington University in St. Louis. They present experience-based examples from around the world, demonstrating universal principals applicable in both developed and developing nations.

The foreword to the book was written by David Chambers, Deputy Director for Implementation Science Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute. He tracks the progress and momentum of D&I research in the five years since the first edition was published, and expressed optimism about the field’s future contributions.

“The future is bright,” he writes, adding that opportunities for further progress exist in many sectors. “If we are successful in moving these areas forward, I anticipate the fruits of our collective labors will be captured in subsequent editions of this book,” he concludes.